Aim High

Rating: 4.94 stars   138 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Education

Location: PO Box 410715 San Francisco CA 94141 USA

Mission: The mission of Aim High is to inspire a life-long love of learning and to instill a sense of community, opportunity, and respect so that students are prepared for success in school and in life. Aim High changes the lives of under-resourced middle school students through an enriching, and academic summer experience that leads to success in high school and beyond. We intervene at a critical stage in students' lives with a free, multi-year summer program. Empowering youth in a supportive classroom environment transforms their attitudes toward learning and unleashes their potential. Our 15 campuses are located in Northern California, where we serve 1,700 students and employ 400 teachers. Our educators reflect the neighborhoods where our students live, and many alumni are inspired to return and work for Aim High. Aim High’s incubator role for innovative teaching techniques inspires new generations of teachers and provides access to real job training and job development. Aim High also provides summer employment opportunities and career development for teachers and teens, many of whom are Aim High alums.
Results: Through high-quality summer enrichment programs, Aim High has touched the lives of thousands of low-income youth in the Bay Area, and continues to employ a diverse group of teachers - 67% of whom are people of color. Aim High's impact is significant: 99% of students say they have an adult or teacher who cares about them 95% of students can imagine themselves as successful college students 79% of students improved their math skills (based on pre- and post-test scores) 87% of students tell us they were challenged at Aim High 90% of students report they are better prepared for the upcoming school year
Target demographics: Low-income Bay Area middle school youth.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 2014: 1,700 students at 15 campuses
Geographic areas served: San Francisco, Oakland, Redwood City, East Palo Alto, San Rafael, Marin City and Tahoe/Truckee, CA
Programs: Our summer program model aims to close the opportunity and achievement gaps for low-income middle school students by offering an engaging, supportive, and tuition-free summer learning program. The Aim High experience fosters critical thinking, instills academic habits, and cultivates a love of learning. Students participate in four rigorous academic classes in the mornings: Math, Science, Humanities and Issues & Choices. Aim High classes have a low student to teacher ratio, allowing for individual attention and a focus on project-based learning. In total, students receive over 60 hours of academic instruction over the course of the five-week program. In the afternoon, students participate in activities such as art, drama, and sports. Students typically participate for three or four summers, and many return to teach in the program. Aim High continually evaluates feedback, assesses results, and shares best practices in order to deliver a high-quality program.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 94-3296338
415-551-2301
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with Aim High for the past six years, first as a Teacher and now as a Site Director. As an educator, Aim High has been a great source of inspiration and motivation. Friends would often ask why I never took summers off since summer vacation is often considered a "perk" of a teacher's schedule. The truth is that I didn't take summers off because I found my summers at Aim High to be very invigorating and refreshing. I had the freedom to be creative with developing a curriculum that was project-based with lots of hands-on learning opportunities. I worked with a group of educators who were dedicated to social justice and committed to instilling a love of learning and curiosity in our students. It was very rewarding to be part of the many "ah-ha" moments that our students would have over the summer. The sense of community at Aim High kept me coming back every year. Now as a Site Director, I really appreciate the opportunity to support new teachers in developing skills and discovering best practices. Taking charge of the program logistics has also been a great learning opportunity for me. Summer after summer I continue to feel invigorated by the impact that Aim High has in the lives of our students and our staff. The level of student engagement and support at Aim High inspires students to develop a new confidence in themselves. It challenges them to try new things and take their learning to new levels. Staff members are also inspired by their experience at Aim High. They form meaningful relationships with students as mentors. They see how their hard work has an important impact in the lives of students and their families. Many staff members decide to pursue education as a career based on their experience at Aim High. I feel very lucky to be part of such an amazing organization.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Magic is real at Aim High, where students, staff and community members come together to enact the CORE values each summer, year after year -- Community, Opportunity, Respect, and high Expectations.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High is exactly what education should be. After an 8 hour day, our kids literally say that they do not want to go home because they want more of Aim High. In my 7 years as a professional educator at a Title I school in San Francisco, I have never seen children not want to leave school - except at Aim High. This organization is special. It instills confidence, leadership, community, friendship, growth, provides opportunities...it's a family. I began working with Aim High 3 years ago as a math teacher and eventually became a Site Director. This program is one in a million. When I imagine what a school should look like and what school should feel like for students, Aim High is my dream. Over the summer, it's my reality. This program is not only incredibly important for students, but also for the adults coming in to the field of education. I work with passionate people every day. Alec and Matt have supported me since the day I became part of the Aim High family. I have never, ever in my life, had a job where I truly felt inspired and supported by my employers and colleagues to this extent. From the founders of the organization to the incredible staff at the Central Office to the enormously talented (and growing!) group of individuals who make up our individual Aim High Sites, this is, in my opinion, the greatest educational nonprofit in existence. I am humbled and honored to be part of such an incredible team.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The professional development that Aim High provided to me as a new teacher equipped me with the tools I needed to persist and thrive in my now 10+ years as an educator. Jumping into the Aim High community with both feet allowed me to experience the strong relationship building and love of learning that results in academic and life success for students. Thanks to Aim High, I continue to improve at supporting teachers and students and am more comfortable as a leader in the area of college access for all.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High consistently proves itself worthy of its strongly positive reputation around the Bay Area. From families to teachers, from students to district administration, people recognize that Aim High makes an enormously positive difference to its participants' lives, it opens doors to opportunities, and it does so in a refreshingly caring way. Academic rigor meets strong community values at Aim High. Teachers and students come away from the program with strengthened confidence and hope.
After 30 years in the field Aim High continues to move forward in its efforts to serve Bay Area families. Funding is wisely spent to give students a broadening summer experience.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High has been a unique and incredible experience for me as a teacher. Students often fall behind in academics over the summer and Aim High helps to prevent this for students in the urban community. Our students are in much smaller class sizes than they are in the normal year so they receive more individual attention. They also get to experience more hands-on learning and field trip opportunities that they might normally not receive. It's been amazing to be a part of Aim High and see how much positive impact it has on our students. I'm thankful to be a part of the Aim High community.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High was a great experience for me as a teacher. I received a lot of support from the staff there to help develop my vision as and educator. You can see the impact that this program has on its students, and the fact that it is going into its 30th year already, and that former students come back to intern and teach shows its growth and the impact it truly has on its students.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I started out with Aim High as a teaching intern. I've since become a co-director of my own site, and as an outsider coming in, I can really say that Aim High has an incredible sense of community and well-being (whether emotional, academic, or physical) that you just cannot find elsewhere. They took me in with open arms my first year (at the age of 19), even though most of them had known each other since they were middle schoolers in the program. Teaching in this program led me to my calling of becoming an educator outside of the non-profit. After spending years in the classroom, I am currently a dean of students at a local high school, and I'm earning my masters in educational leadership at Santa Clara. None of this would have been possible without Aim High.

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1 previous review
Rating: 4 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I came to Aim High as a freshman in college, looking for experience in the education field to see if I truly wanted to become a teacher. I have since been teaching for this nonprofit for the past three years. It is frantic, hectic, and sometimes downright frustrating, but I have learned so much about being an educator and being true to myself while being a part of this program that it really has become a mainstay in my life. I am truly grateful for the opportunities that this program has provided for me and the kids who have benefited from it.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my professional development as an educator, learning what works and what does not in a classroom.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

maybe start providing grades for the students.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

being able to be myself in front of my students.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

priceless, giving, selfless, and dedicated.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the face of education, making it more relevant and engaging for students.

Ways to make it better...

I had had more time to prepare lessons.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

time constraints, in terms of planning and academic instruction.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

Throughout the regular academic year I am an Athletic Director and Assistant Dean students at a local high school. During the summer I teach Math at Aim High. I can honestly say Aim High is like my second family, I am really proud to be part of such an amazing program. Aim High takes advantage of the five weeks they have with students and do everything they can to make sure the students grow academically! They make sure everyone, from volunteers to site directors, have the support and the tools they need to successfully instruct students. Aim High doesn't only help students grow academically but personally as well! They offer classes and activities that give them the opportunity to be part of something and be proud of who they are. I have been part of Aim High for over half a decade now and I will continue to teach with them every summer simply because I know that with Aim High I can help students grow academically and change the way they view education for ever! I wholeheartedly support Aim High !!!!!

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High has, quite simply, changed my life.

I first became involved with Aim High as a teaching intern in the summer of 2013. I instantly felt welcomed into the Aim High community––one that is overflowing with talented and dedicated teachers and administrators. As a novice teacher, I felt supported by the staff as I began to take on new responsibility in lesson planning and classroom management. Unlike many summer education programs, Aim High teachers are, most often, teachers during the school year. This meant that I was surrounded by experienced educators with solid, tested, teaching strategies.

However, what makes Aim High a truly special program is its students. Aim High students are bright, passionate, vibrant kids with genuine thirsts for learning. They bring their whole selves to school every single day. I can say, without a doubt, that my Aim High students have taught me far more than I have taught them.

It is because of Aim High that I have decided to become an educator (in the Bay Area, no less)! For me, Aim High has distilled education into its purest form––a simple love of learning and of teaching. Today I am a 5th-grade teacher at a local independent school. I love my job...

...And I cannot wait to return for my third summer at Aim High.

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